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SLIS 5445 History & Culture (Ethnography) of Youth Information Services
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Dr. Elizabeth Figa

(c) 2013 Elizabeth Figa, PhD
Elizabeth.Figa@unt.edu

The 5445 course and its content are copyrighted and may not be reprinted, revised, reformatted, or refactored for distribution or publication in any form or venue without permission of the author or the University of North Texas.

Welcome to the History & Culture of Youth Information Services Class!

SLIS 5445 History & Culture of Youth Information Services. 3 hours. Official SLIS Course Description

History of youth services librarianship.  Users and designers of youth information services and systems. heory and methods of ethnographic (cultural) evaluation of youth information services and systems. Current trends and research in youth information services and systems.

Course Overview And Objectives

"Rather than simply train students to be competent, successful practitioners, 
faculties need to make greater efforts to prepare people who will 
look beyond their practice and strive continuously to raise 
the standards of the profession and improve the system in which it functions ...
Faculties could do much more to expand the vision of their students 
by encouraging them to study the history and structure of their profession."
Derek Bok, President Emeritus
Harvard University Higher Learning (1986)

An understanding of the history and evolution of youth services librarianship will provide library managers and youth services librarians a grounding in a great library tradition. In current practice, ethnographic work is becoming increasingly important at key points in the development, implementation, and evaluation of new information services/systems. In this instance, the term "systems" pertains broadly to the holistic integration of people, technology, and information services and the term "ethnography" pertains broadly to the study of culture or cultural impact. My goal is to consider the contingencies of information-based work practices as situated in particular times and places and toward developing a deeper understanding of user-sensitive information services/systems design. In other words, understanding what are we doing to support information use by youth and the who/what/when/where/how/why about youth as consumers of information services. The information professional with a "bi-lingual" background in ethnography and information services and systems development in the youth area will be increasingly in demand and will be capable of making valuable contributions in meeting the information needs of this special population.

Therefore, this course will offer a three-pronged approach:

1. An understanding of the historical perspectives of youth services librarianship, and
2. The application of cultural theory toward an understanding of library and information services and systems for youth and the use of ethnographic methods to develop, implement, and evaluate them.
3. A deep exploration of the current trends in the area of youth information services and systems.

Objectives:

Course Access

This course is presented entirely online via Blackboard Technology. The course begins the first official day of classes in the semesters in which it is offered. Registered students will be uploaded into the student database and can access the course using their UNT EUID and PASSWORD beginning on the first day. Course modules will be timed and are explained in the full course syllabus and course calendar. An important note about course access: At times, the overnight uploads of the student database, which is done by Student Records and the Blackboard Divisions, takes longer than anticipated or has technical problems. Please do not be alarmed if you do not have access to the Storytelling course the first or second day of class or if your access is suddenly problematic. Your faculty and teaching assistants anticipate access problems and we will work with the uploaded data to ensure every student has access as soon as possible. If you are registered for the class and experience access problems, please consult the Blackboard Student Resources page. If you need further assistance, please send an email to Elizabeth Figa or one of the teaching assistants at the email addresses listed below. Please be patient with us -- your access to the course is our highest priority! You will not get behind in the course the first few days and you can read ahead in your textt.

Contact Information

Elizabeth G. Figa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of North Texas
School of Library and Information Sciences
UNT Discovery Park, Room E295L
3940 N. Elm St.
Denton, TX 76207-7102
Work: (940) 565-2187
Fax: (940) 565-3101
Email: elizabeth.figa@unt.edu
WWW: http://courses.unt.edu/efiga/Figa/

Elizabeth's Office Hours:

Office hours are by appointment on my regularly scheduled day arranged by the SLIS Office. Appointments are recommended to ensure a guaranteed time slot. Call (877) 275-7547 for an appointment. Email me if the office cannot find an acceptable time for you.

Elizabeth's Accessibility and Responsiveness Parameters:

I think you will find me highly accessible and responsive to you in both discussion and via email. Please use the discussion boards as much as possible for questions and problem solving so that your faculty, teaching assistants, and peers can all deliver assistance. Please also use discretion with email and consult with me as needed for real problems you cannot otherwise solve via peer assistance or on your own. I will generally be actively in the class every day Monday - Friday. I will generally take off all-day on Saturday so if you have questions about assignments (generally due on Sundays), please catch me during business days. By general practice, I will return to the class on Sunday afternoon/evening. For occasions that I am away at a conference or doing consulting, I will post messages to the class.

Required Course Materials

Students should order the required text in advance!! See below for ordering the text.

Required book:

Lyddie. Katherine Patterson. Puffin Publishers. ISBN: 0140373896

Ordering suggestions:

  • www.efollet.com
  • www.amazon.com
  • www.bn.com
  • http://www.studentmarket.com/studentmarket/textbooks.html
  • http://www.textbookx.com/
  • www.varsitybooks.com
  • www.classbook.com

Required Journal:

You will be reading the special edition of Library Trends: Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature. Edited by Karen Patricia Smith, Library Trends, 44(4)679-895, Spring 1996. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Articles in this special edition:

  • Introduction - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Karen Patricia Smith
  • Female advocacy and harmonious voices: a history of public library services and publishing for children in the United States - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Kay E. Vandergrift
  • New England book women: their increasing influence - Caroline Hewins, Anne Carroll Moore, Alice Jordan, and Bertha Mahony - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Margaret Bush
  • Initiative and influence: the contributions of Virginia Haviland to children's services, research, and writing - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Karen Patricia Smith
  • Margaret K. McElderry and the professional matriarchy of children's books - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Betsy Hearne
  • Zena Sutherland: reviewer, teacher, and author - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Ann D. Carlson
  • Writing for parents about children's literature in mass market publications, 1900-1950 - research on the writings of Mary Mapes Dodge, Elizabeth McCracken, Anne Carroll Moore, Emily Newell Blair, Maude Dutton Lynch, Josette Frank, and Blanche Jennings Tho by Lynn S. Cockett
  • Women of ALA youth services and professional jurisdiction: of nightingales, newberies, realism, and the right books, 1937-1945 - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Christine A. Jenkins
  • The pedagogical context of women in children's services and literature scholarship - includes a table containing survey data - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contributions of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Anne Lundin
  • A feminist analysis of the voices for advocacy in young adult services - Imagination and Scholarship: The Contribution of Women to American Youth Services and Literature by Jane Anne Hannigan

Students can access the free, full-text of the Spring 1996 issue; both are through the Libraries homepage at www.library.unt.edu.

The first way is through the online catalog, which has a link on the Libraries homepage:

  1. Select the link for UNT Library Catalog.
  2. Do a journal title search for Library Trends.
  3. Select the full-text link for Library Trends through the Student Resource Center Gold Edition (last link in list of 4)
  4. Once within the resource, go to page 22. The articles from the Spring 1996 issue are records #424-433 (finishing up on page 22).
  5. All of the articles are full-text in HTML.

The second way to access the articles is also through the Libraries homepage:

  1. 1. Select the link for Electronic Resources.
  2. In the left-hand panel, select the link for e-journals.
  3. Search for Library Trends.
  4. Select the link for Library trends through the Student Resource Center Gold Edition package (last link of three).
  5. Once within the resource, go to page Page 22, finishing up on page 23; articles #424-433. (finishing up on page 22).
  6. All of the articles are full-text in HTML.

Required Style Manual:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2009). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 

Required Movies:

1. Songcatcher (2001) Rated: PG-13. An historical fictional drama about a musicologist and educational life for women and children in 1800s England and America.

2. CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING.

Required Course Readings:

Each weekly module will have other required and additional article readings which are listed in the "Readings Due this Week" section of the modules. Use of the UNT electronic resources library is necessary and all readings can be retrieved electronically.

Required Course Technology

Reliable Internet access is required. Please do NOT take this course if you do not have access to reliable high-speed Internet in order to perform your stories.

Blackboard is the course management software used at UNT; please see the Blackboard Vista Browser and Computer in order to ensure your computer system meets the minimum requirements to work with Blackboard Vista, and to check your Java.

This course requires that students have computing technology and equipment specifications as follows:

1. Hardware. See the Blackboard Vista Technology Requirements page for hardware components to support Blackboard.

2. Streaming Media Player. To view a series of video clips.

3. Speakers. To listen to the videos and for optional participation in chats.

4. Required Technology and Software. Other software (e.g., voice board, Live Classrom) is provided through the course.

Assignments

This course is designed to be a "thinking" course with participation in class activities, exercises, and forum discussions taking on a high priority.  There will be purposeful "doing" in this course as well but I am extremely interested in stimulating ideas and understanding about this important topic through discussion and the process of discovery.

Please see the Assignments List & Info page in the course menu for details on these assignments.

1. Full participation in all class activities, exercises, forum discussions, etc. (30% of grade)
2. Historical Research Paper: Topic of your choice on the History of Youth Information Services and Systems.  (20% of grade)
3. Ethnographic Fieldwork Project. (30% of grade)
4. Ethnographic "Current Trend" Presentation: Topic of your choice on a Current Trend in Information Services and Systems for Youth. (20% of grade)

Grading Criteria

1. Participation Policy: This course requires weekly engagement and participation in discussion assignments and participation is one grading criteria.
2. Late Work Policy: Assignments that are submitted via "assignment tools" are due as stated on the course calendar at 12:00 midnight. Unsubmitted assignments will receive 0 points. Students are advised that it is better to submit partial work for some credit rather than submitting nothing. Please plan accordingly.

NOTE: Students are expected to submit all major assignments including the final course assignment. Students who forgo submitting the final assignment will receive zero points on the assignment and a one letter grade deduction.

Incomplete Grades

The Graduate Catalog located at http://www.unt.edu/catalogs/ describes and explains grading policies. A grade of Incomplete (I) will be given only for a justifiable reason and only if the student is passing the course. The student is responsible for contacting the instructor to request an incomplete and discuss requirements for completing the course if an approval is agreed upon. If an incomplete is not removed within the time frame agreed upon by instructor and student, the instructor may assign a grade of F.

Withdrawal from the Course

The Graduate Catalog located at http://www.unt.edu/catalogs/ describes and explains withdrawal policies and deadlines. The UNT semester course schedule lists specific deadlines. A grade of Withdraw (W) or Withdraw-Failing (WF) will be given depending on a student's participation and grades to date. Please note that a student who simply stops participating and does not file a UNT withdrawal form may receive an F. Please contact the LIS office if you need to withdraw from the course.

Online Participation

Students are required to use Blackboard to submit and exchange assignments electronically and contribute to online discussions. In online discussions, this means substantive remarks on directed discussion topics beyond merely agreeing or disagreeing without justification or support. Points may be deducted for substandard contributions.

Students are also expected to visit the discussion board on a regular basis to read and respond to communications and course material. Blackboard enables faculty to track where and when students visit various areas of the course site, times of first and last logins, and number of conference postings. This information is used, in part, in determining the participation grade for the course.

In class discussions and group assignments, instructors and students are expected to demonstrate professional and courteous behavior. This means interacting in a supportive and tactful manner based on mutual respect for each other's ideas and approaches.

Assignment Competencies

SLIS 5445 requires the following kinds of intellectual and communication competencies:

Effort Expected

This is a three-credit-hour course. Students can expect to work 3 - 4 hours per week for each credit hour. This means students may spend about 9 - 12 hours a week on readings, assignments, discussions, and story preparation.

ADA Information

Any student with a disability that will require accommodation under the terms of federal regulations must let the instructor know on the first day of class and present a written accommodations request to the instructor by the second week of class. Copies of the University of North Texas Policy on Disability Accommodations are available through the main office. Questions or concerns about discrimination on the basis of disability or about equal educational opportunities for persons with disabilities should be directed to Cassandra Berry, Equal Opportunity Office, Room 203, Administration Building, 940-565-2456. Information concerning specific accommodations to provide equal opportunities is available from Steve Pickett or Jane Jones, Office of Disability Accommodation, Suite 324, Union, 940-565-4323.

Important Notice for F-1 Students

THIS NOTICE WAS SENT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AND PROGRAMS OFFICE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS.

REFER ANY QUESTIONS OR BROKEN LINKS TO THEM:

To read INS regulations for F-1 students taking online courses, please go to this website http://www.international.unt.edu/advising/students/immigration.htm

To comply with immigration regulations, an F-1 visa holder within the United States may need to engage in an on-campus experiential component for this course. This component (which must be approved in advance by the instructor) can include activities such as taking an on-campus exam, participating in an on-campus lecture or lab activity, or other on-campus experience integral to the completion of this course. If such an on-campus activity is required, it is the student's responsibility to do the following:

(1) Submit a written request to the instructor for an on-campus experiential component within one week of the start of the course.

(2) Ensure that the activity on campus takes place and the instructor documents it in writing with a notice sent to the International Advising Office. The UNT International Advising Office has a form available that you may use for this purpose.

Because the decision may have serious immigration consequences, if an F-1 student is unsure about his or her need to participate in an on-campus experiential component for this course, s/he should contact the UNT International Advising Office (telephone 940-565-2195 or email international@unt.edu) to get clarification before the one-week deadline.

Policy on Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism and Cheating

* Read Carefully -- THIS POLICY WILL BE ENFORCED *

Campus Policy

I support and will enforce the University of North Texas policies concerning academic misconduct. Please consult the University of North Texas Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities including the Student Standards of Academic Integrity which include the following text: 

Categories of Academic Dishonesty:

A. Cheating. The use of unauthorized assistance in an academic exercise, including but not limited to:

B. Plagiarism. Use of another's thoughts or words without proper attribution in any academic exercise, regardless of the student's intent, including but not limited to:

C. Forgery. Altering a score, grade or official academic university record or forging the signature of an instructor or other student.

D. Fabrication. Falsifying or inventing any information, data or research as part of an academic exercise.

E. Facilitating Academic Dishonesty. Helping or assisting another in the commission of academic dishonesty.

F. Sabotage. Acting to prevent others from completing their work or willfully disrupting the academic work of others.

Dr. Figa's Penalties for Academic Misconduct

1. First offense in this course:

2. Second offense in this course:

Elizabeth Figa's Philosophy of Hope for Good Work by All

I will give you 100% of my best as your teacher and will incorporate into my work in this class all that I ask of you: Be who you are. Do your best. Use good judgment. Trust your instincts. Participate fairly. Help others. Be kind and generous in thought and deed. Give credit where credit is due. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

The Course Content

Content is introduced through 13 topical modules, which are divided into 3 units.

Discussion posts are due weekly as noted on the course calendar. Assignments are due as noted on the course calendar.

Unit One, Modules 1-5

Module 1 Content | Introduction

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 2 Content | Book & Movie Week

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 3 Content | History, Part 1

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 4 | History, Part 2

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 5 | Special Contributions to the Field

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Unit Two, Modules 6-9

Module 6 | Storytelling in the Classroom, Audience Issues, and Storytelling Programs

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings
  • Historical research paper

Module 7 | Folktales and Fairytales

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 8 | Storytelling in the Movies

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings
  • Fieldwork week

Module 9 | Music, Poetry, and Popular Culture

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Unit Three, Modules 10-13

Module 10 | Life and Family Stories

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings
  • Fieldwork project

Module 11 | Urban Legends and Worklore

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 12 | African, African American, Native American and Hispanic Stories

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings

Module 13 | Mythology, Globalization, and Digital Storytelling

Readings & Activities:

  • Articles/web pages as assigned

Assignments:

  • Discussion postings
  • Final copy of current trends project